Iowa E-D Director Sounds Lock & Dam Alarm
State leaders are raising concerns about the billion-dollar backlog of maintenance and repairs needed on the Mississippi River’s lock and dam system.
Part of the waterway was closed for three days earlier this year when a failed lock prevented navigation. Officials with the U-S Army Corps of Engineers say the reliability of the system is decreasing and Debi Durham, Iowa’s Economic Development Director, is worried. The lock and dam system was built during the New Deal era and it’s 80 years old. In the coming weeks, Iowa’s corn and soybean harvest will be floating down the Mississippi to export markets around the world. Durham says the U-S is falling behind other countries in keeping up this vital waterway.
She notes major improvements now underway on the Panama Canal. Upgrades to the lock and dam system are badly needed, she says, plus major channel work to clear sand and sediment after floods earlier this year. Durham appeared before the Mississippi River Commission last week in Dubuque.